Business Articles - Legal and Insurance

When a Homeowner Still Owes You Money

What can you do, right? We all come across these homeowners sometimes. Maybe we irritated them, maybe they are just bad people, maybe communication broke down somewhere along the way and it's just a misunderstanding. No matter what the cause or who's to blame, you're not getting paid. But you have options.

Mechanic Liens

Mechanic liens are an invaluable resource, especially if your work requires that you pay a great deal of upfront costs, or if the work you do is worth a substantial amount of money. These liens differ from state to state, but basically you file a lien with the county clerk or recorder soon after—sometimes before—work begins. This filing will put a lien on the home where you did the work, which gives you a security interest in the home.

Some companies, remodeling companies in particular, opt to file these before they step foot on the property just as a security measure. Often, homeowners see this as an act of professionalism. Certainly, there are going to be some homeowners who are offended by this because they view this as an implication that they might not pay. This reaction is easy to settle by saying that your attorney won't let you begin a job without one.


Admittedly, these liens are not that easy for the lay person to understand, and the filing system can be difficult to navigate. Contractors Business Network Corporation (CBNC), (you might have seen them in our member offers) is a company that will file these documents for you if either you don't think you can handle this process, or if you just don't want to. They charge a small fee, but one that is substantially less than an attorney's fees. These are the people to talk to if you are headed in this direction with a homeowner, if you are already there, or if you are just looking to button up your process from this day forward. Check this company out in the Member Offers section.

Communication is the Key

As always, communication is key. If you always make sure to communicate openly and clearly with your homeowners, you are likely to get paid more often than a professional who doesn't communicate at all. For those homeowners who have it in mind to stiff you, it likely doesn't matter how you act; but here again, if you are talking to them about everything on a regular basis, they might find it more difficult to treat you unfairly.

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